Five-Alarm Fudge

Five-Alarm Fudge by Christine DeSmet

Book: Five-Alarm Fudge by Christine DeSmet Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christine DeSmet
of disdain. “The uniform is new.”
    I backed off. “Sorry. You look nice.”
    “Nicer than usual is what you really want to say.”
    “Mercy, take the compliment before I stuff it somewhere you won’t like. I need to see John. To help him. Pauline’s worried.”
    “She better be. The guy could be a murderer.”
    A groan escaped me. “You heard about Tristan Hardy already?”
    She popped a piece of the dark-chocolate fudge with gummy worms in her mouth, munching. “This stuff can stick to your bridgework, you know that?” She dug around in her mouth with an index finger.
    Mercy was stalling on purpose to frustrate me. Ever since I’d moved back to town and found success with fudge, she niggled at me. But I felt for her. She’d once been our village president, then gotten ousted by a nineteen-year-old bartender in the election. Mercy was trying to regain her position in the herd, as my dad would say. And you never trusted the alpha animal, because she could charge at you when you least expected it. “Mercy, what did you hear about Tristan? And why would you think John is a murderer?”
    “I got on my bus, plunked down in my driver’s seat, and I’m eating a doughnut, one of those cherry doughnuts with the glaze with the cherry bits in it—”
    “Stay on the point, Mercy. What did you hear about Cherry?”
    “I turned on my bus radio. The radio said he was bludgeoned to death and they’re looking for the murderer. I get up then thinking about blood, looking at my hands stained from the red cherry doughnut, then turn toward the back of my bus and I find John Schultz sprawled on the floor with blood on his hands.”
    I screeched, “Blood?”
    The entire fudge shop went silent as customers looked at us. I hustled Mercy outside.

Chapter 8
    I trotted onto the yellow school bus in the harbor parking lot. The aisle was narrow. John Schultz was a hefty guy.
    I asked Mercy, who stood behind me, “How did you get him out?”
    “He drags okay. It’s wider down there on the floor.”
    “You dragged him? Out of the bus? Didn’t his head hit on the steps?”
    “Hell no. I only dragged him to the front. Then I was able to turn him around. His shoes fell off on my lawn, though. They disappeared. I think my neighbor’s new golden retriever puppies stole them. They’re cuter than sin, but those dogs are mouthy.”
    “Never mind about the puppies. Give me your house keys.”
    Mercy lumbered off the bus steps and back into the sunshine. “He’s fine. Just needs some sleep.”
    I followed down the steps. “Give me your keys. I’m going to get John while you’re taking those people in my shop on their tour.”
    “I drive. I don’t yack at people like you. I’m not their tour guide.”
    My head felt ready to explode, but I wouldn’t give Mercy that satisfaction. She had a brochure hanging out of a pocket. I snatched it. “You don’t get paid unless the tour runs, right?”
    “Yeah.”
    “Wait here.”
    I hurried inside the shop, hustled past the minnow tank and onward to the far aisle where I found my grandfather giving a little boy a plastic set of bright orange bobbers. After the boy and his dad sauntered on, I asked, “Gilpa, you know everything about Door County, right?”
    “Not everything. What’s going on, A.M.?”
    “There’s an emergency. John’s not feeling well. I have to go pick him up at . . . at . . .” I gulped. Grandpa didn’t much like Mercy. “At Mercy Fogg’s house.”
    “Holy Hannah, what’s that woman done to us now?”
    “I’m not exactly sure. That’s why I need you to be a tour guide to all these people.” I waved toward the women and girls lined up buying fudge, cute aprons, purses, and sparkly kids’ stuff that sported logos for my special flavors. I unfolded the brochure. “They’re going to a couple of lighthouses, the farm with the ostriches, a vineyard, and the White Fish Dune’s State Park and its nature center.”
    “I’ll fetch your grandma.

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